What is Trans fat?

What Does Trans fat Mean

The fats are substances consisting of the combination of fatty acids and glycerine . They are present in animal and plant tissues and are very important in nutrition since they enable energy production , although their excessive consumption is harmful.

It is possible to differentiate between unsaturated fats (which are formed with unsaturated fatty acids ) and saturated fats (developed with saturated fatty acids). Among the unsaturated fats, in turn, we can find monounsaturated fats , polyunsaturated fats and trans fats .

Trans fats are usually generated from the hydrogenation of oils , although they also appear naturally - but in small amounts - in milk and in lamb and pork, for example. It is a substance considered harmful to health .
Hydrogenation is a process that, by adding hydrogen , makes it possible to transform an oil into a solid fat . In this way the durability of the food is increased and its texture and flavor can also be improved. This is why many industrially processed food products, such as snacks , cookies, and margarines , contain trans fats.
In addition to improvements in texture and flavor, the objective of the oil hydrogenation process was to make the resulting fats more like those of animal origin. Trans fats that are obtained naturally are generated in the chamber that some species of polygastric ruminants have (such as cows, goats and sheep) for fermentation, which is known by the name of rumen .
According to José Manuel García Almeida , one of the members of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (also known by its acronym, Seedo ), trans fats fulfill several functions, such as cell metabolism , intervention in the pathways inflammatory processes and the organic structure of the membranes, among others.
According to various studies, trans fats increase the level of bad cholesterol and, therefore, increase the risk of suffering from coronary heart disease or stroke. They also increase the risk of diabetes and obesity, while minimizing the level of good cholesterol.
Nutritionists emphasize that the body does not need trans fats. That is why the ideal is to eradicate its consumption or limit it so that these fats represent less than 1% of the daily calories ingested. One of the reasons for their bad reputation is that the human body cannot synthesize them, although their metabolization and absorption are similar to those of unsaturated fatty acids.

At least three internationally important bodies are strongly opposed to the consumption of trans fats: the Danish Nutrition Council , the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization suggest that we reduce trans fat calories to less than One percent.
All that said, it's hard to believe that trans fats have been so popular, and that they are still popular on the market today. But the reason is that at the time they became popular because they were presented as an ideal product to compensate for the damage that saturated fats caused us. In a matter of a few decades, this conception was completely reversed.
At present, given that it is no longer possible to sustain this false benefit of trans fats, their continuity in the market is due to their advantages in terms of flavor stabilization and the prolongation of the consumption period of food products. For precooked, the use of trans fats is very convenient. In an ideal world, consumers wanting to avoid them should read labels carefully; However, the lack of regulation that obliges manufacturers to indicate their presence on their products makes many of them hide it.

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